Born April 29, 1925
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Died January 8, 2007 (aged 81)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Occupation Animator, Television producer, Film director
Spouse(s) Barbara Takamoto
Children Michael Takamoto, Leslie Stern
Iwao Takamoto (タカモト・イワオ, Takamoto Iwao) (April 29, 1925 – January 8, 2007) was a Japanese American animator, television producer, and film director. He was most famous as being a production and character designer for Hanna-Barbera Productions shows such as Scooby-Doo.
Takamoto's father emigrated from Hiroshima to the United States for his health. He returned to Japan only once, to marry his wife. Takamoto was born on April 29, 1925 in Los Angeles, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Takamoto's family, like many Japanese Americans, was forced to move to an internment camp. They spent the rest of World War II in the Manzanar internment camp. It was there that Takamoto received basic illustration training from a couple of friendly co-internees.
Takamoto first entered the cartoon world after the end of the war. He was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Studios in 1945. Takamoto eventually became an assistant for the legendary Milt Kahl. He worked as an animator on such titles as Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
Leaving Disney (1961)
Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions shortly thereafter. He worked in several positions there, but is arguably best known as a character designer. He was responsible for the original character design of such characters as Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons' dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. He worked as a producer at Hanna-Barbera, supervising shows such as The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, and Jabberjaw. He directed several feature length animated films, including Charlotte's Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990). The inspiration for Scooby-Doo's creation as a Great Dane came from an employee of the Hanna-Barbera company, who bred this dog.
Takamoto was Vice-President of Creative Design at Hanna-Barbera, and was responsible for overseeing H-B's many product related merchandising. In 2005, he received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild, to honor his more than 50 years of service in the animation field.
He died on January 8, 2007 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a heart attack at age 81. Adult Swim for the next week put up a bumper that said Iwao Takamoto [1925-2007]. He was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles in Gardens of Blessing, Section 3, Lot 1390, Space 3.
Date of Birth
29 April 1925, Los Angeles, California, USA
Date of Death
8 January 2007, Los Angeles, California, USA (heart attack)
Iwao Takamoto had recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; Iwao, his parents and siblings were interned as enemy aliens in the Manzanar internment camp where he learned the rudiments of drawing and animation from two fellow internees who had worked as art directors at Hollywood film studios. When given a chance to leave the camp to pick fruit in Idaho, Iwao applied to Walt Disney for a job as an animator; he spent the weekend before his appointment drawing and sketching almost everything he saw. He got the job as an assistant illustrator working as an apprentice under the tutelage of Disney's "Nine Old Men". particularly Bob Carlson and Milt Kahl. While at Disney, Takamoto worked on both short films and features; in 1961 he left Disney for Hanna-Barbera where he would have a hand in developing many well-known and beloved cartoon characters such as Scooby Doo, Astro, George Jetson's dog, and Penelope Pitstop. He retired as Vice President of Special Projects for Warner Brothers.
Barbara Takamoto (? - 8 January 2007) (his death) 2 children
Son of Japanese immigrants, he & his family were sent to Manzanar internment camp in California.
He learned illustrating from fellow internees at Manzanar.
Is survived by his wife, Barbara, son Michael, and his stepdaughter, Leslie.
Named his cartoon Scooby-Doo after Frank Sinatra's final phrase in Strangers in the Night.
Moved from Disney studios to Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1961.
Learned illustration while interred in a camp during World War II from other Japanese-Americans there.
In 2005 he received the Golden Award from the Animator's Guild.
In 1996 he received the 'Winsor Mckay' award for lifetime achievement.
He is interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park is a Jewish cemetery located at 5950 Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles, California.